(Owen is a long-time friend, a former youth group kid who stayed committed to the church through his 20’s, and is a very smart guy…he just arrived home from presenting a paper on Charles Hodge at the 200th anniversary of Princeton.)
I greatly appreciated your blog and identification of the problem. I have one item to add to your list, and a thought to add to an item already on your list:
The Biblical Worldview: The Biblical Worldview teaches the themes of creation, fall, and redemption. This teaches the reality of God the creator, that the creation was made very good, that sin is not seeking, not understanding, and not dong what is right, that death entered the world after sin, and that redemption is given through an atoning sacrifice. We see these themes from Genesis 1 to the end of the Bible. Getting this foundation in place in the lives of believers allows them to go on and bear fruit. It shifts the focus from mere converts to making disciples, and from otherworldliness to the glory of God.
McDonaldization: If we have the glory of God as our focus, and are grounded in the Biblical Worldview, this will take us a long way from self-centered “worship.” One way this happens is in the use of divinely inspired songs in public worship. The book of Psalms covers all aspects of a believer’s life before God. However, this book is generally ignored or used very sparingly. Rather than choosing songs based on how they make us feel, the Psalms re-orient our thinking so that we learn a more God-centered piety. Like the McDonalds example, songs that make us feel good for a short time but have no nutritional content are unhealthy. The focus is on how we feel, not in the truths we are singing about God and the Christian life. While many songs contain either actual falsehoods or are very simple in what they express, no one can make this charge about the Psalms.